If you’re anything like me, you’re always searching for a way to spice up plain ‘ol chicken breasts for dinner. Well look no further my friends, as I’ve got a doozie of a recipe for you, just in time for the start of grilling season.
Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken Salad – aka the end of boring chicken as we know it!
Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad features a smoky-sweet homemade BBQ sauce that not only serves as something you’ll want to spoon drink, but also as a flavor-packed marinade for the anything but ho-hum grilled chicken sliced on top, and as an ingredient in the cooling salad dressing drizzle.
The sweet heat of the sauce is accented by pops of charred sweet corn, bursts of garden-fresh tomato, and tastes of herby chopped cilantro. All. The. Things!
Start the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad by making the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce. I adore how simple this recipe is, the fact that it’s made with pretty much all pantry staples, and that it can be made ahead of time. Who knew making homemade BBQ sauce would be so easy?
- Apple juice
- Rice vinegar
- Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- Brown sugar
- Salt & pepper
- Canola oil
First add 1 chopped mango to a small saucepan over medium heat.
BTW, there are several different ways you can peel and chop a mango. Here’s one technique, or a different one is to cut the stem end off the mango, then peel it using a good vegetable peeler.
Cut the mango”cheeks” off the wide, flat pit running through the center, then chop the cheeks up. Look for a mango that has a little red in it, and gives pretty easily when you push in with your thumb.
To the mango, add 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, and 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are smoked, dried jalapenos packed in a thick, quasi-spicy sauce. Chipotle peppers aren’t as hot as fresh jalapenos, rather they have a milder smoky heat. So yum.
You can find chipotles in adobo sauce in cans in the ethnic foods aisle of the grocery store. I usually only use 1 or 2 peppers per recipe (there’s like 8 in a can,) so I stash the rest in the freezer and pull one out when I need it.
Add the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan, then give ‘em a good stir.
Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes until it’s thick and luscious. Your kitchen will smell AWESOME!
Turn the heat off and allow the sauce to cool for 15 minutes or so, then transfer it to a food processor or blender.
If you are worried that the chipotle pepper will make the BBQ sauce too hot, take it out, then blend the sauce until smooth. I am a weenie when it comes to heat, and this wasn’t too hot, but you might want to take it out if you have small children.
That’s it! Next, marinate 2 chicken breasts in some of the sauce to be grilled anywhere from 15 minutes, to a couple hours later.
Now, not only is this mouthwatering Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce acting as a marinade for the grilled chicken going on top of the salad, but it’s also making up part of the salad dressing.
Oh yes. Simply combine 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce with 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, then add in a little lime juice, and season with salt & pepper. Stir, taste, and adjust the lime juice and/or seasonings if necessary.
I am SO obsessed with this stuff!!! A little spicy, a little sweet, a little tart, a lot tasty.
To finish the salad up, grill the marinated chicken breasts for 5-6 minutes a side, or until they’re no longer pink in the center.
Love that orange color from the chipotle pepper and paprika in the BBQ sauce.
Add a couple shucked ears of sweet corn on the grill (no butter or oil needed!) to char up next to the chicken. Just roll the ears every couple of minutes to get them evenly charred on all sides.
Finally, pile crispy romaine lettuce on a plate, top with chopped cilantro, tomato wedges, the grilled corn, and chicken, then drizzle with the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce laced dressing!
Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce Chicken Salad
BBQ Sauce adapted from Tofu-N-Sprouts
For the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce (makes 2 1/4 cups):
1 mango, chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
For the dressing:
2 Tablespoons prepared Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce
2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons lime juice (maybe more, maybe less)
salt & pepper
For the salad:
2 chicken breasts
2 ears sweet corn, shucked
1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 bag Dole Romaine Salad mix
- For the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce: Combine all ingredients for Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Let cool then transfer to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth.
- For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste, then add more lime juice, salt and/or pepper if necessary.
- For the salad: Marinate chicken breasts in some of the prepared Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce for at least 15 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Grill over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes per side until no longer pink in the middle. Allow to rest for 5 minutes off the grill before slicing. Grill corn alongside the chicken, rotating every few minutes until charred on all sides. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut kernels off the cob.
- Divide lettuce between two plates, then top with grilled corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and grilled chicken. Drizzle with prepared dressing.
So good! So freaking good! I can’t get over the smokey Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce which, despite having both mango and brown sugar in the ingredient list, is definitely not too sweet.
I may never buy BBQ sauce again!
Now, I enjoyed my Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken on a salad, but Ben requested that I stick one of the grilled breasts slathered with sauce on a bun for his dinner, which he decided he liked on the high side of almost a lot.
Whatever that means!?
Hope you’ll give this one a try, guys!